5:00AM. Thirty or so Peace Corps trainees sit sprawled out on a hotel floor in the middle of Philadelphia, waiting on a bus to take them to New York. From there, the group will fly to Lima, but that is of no concern at this moment. Concern can only apply to that which is within conception, and the conceptualization department at MjH Inc. doesn't open until at least 8AM. Until that time, all complaints and/or concerns are filed in the department of the personal unconscious, to be brought to the forefront in a timely manner only if the department of memory and recall isn't experiencing the usual slow-down in neuron-firing, a direct result of the server being down.
7:00AM. The bus has arrived. The bus... as in one. Thirty-plus travelers, each carrying twice their weight in luggage, will all fit onto one bus. And where do they plan on putting the copious amount of idealism that we've brought? I could sell the general public tickets to see this happen, and if I charged enough I just might be able to rent another bus.
Somewhere between 8:00 and 9:00AM. I'm jolted awake by the thought of me publicly drooling on myself somewhere towards the back of the bus. I've always been a back row gent, no matter the setting. The classroom, the theater, the bus, etc. Maybe it has to do with a subliminal distrust in people, and maybe I just saw The Godfather at too young of an age. I glance out the window and see Manhattan rolling by and am utterly disappointed. I slept right through the all the clamour and anticipation that permeated the fifteen rows ahead of me and sat there visually juxtaposing one of man's greatest civil achievements with the drool stains on my shirt.
The bus pulls in to JFK and I recall that we divided ourselves into groups and appointed leaders back at the hotel. I quickly fumble through my memory searching for the correct letter or number or shape that I may have identified myself with. Not wanting to be sent to the corner or slapped with a ruler, I join in with group two, as group one is clearly made up of overachievers and group three just seems like they would come in last in a foot race. Someone has apparently taken charge and we begin our bovine-like trudge through the concrete jungle-gym that is the modern day airport. I'm waiting to see who has lost their ticket, or at least attempting to catch the facial expressions of those who are in the midst of searching their person to find it. The desperation builds as the locales in which they search get more and more absurd by the passing second. No, it's not in your Nalgene bottle, nor is it in your rain-proof, fire-resistant, eco-friendly, 40-person tent, but maybe you should pull it out and assemble it just to check. While enjoying this pantomime , I notice the length of the queue is quite daunting, and the expression sitting upon the face of most is one of exhaustion. My cohort begins stripping themselves of their baggage, and for a special few this will be a thirty minute process. In the meantime, the self-appointed shepherd of the group occupies herself with keeping the sheep who wish to stray within the confines of the blue line marker that swirls around us.
The wait only grows exponetially from here and takes on qualities which would allow one to personify it if they so desired. But we march on. Through endless cups of coffee and interrupted naps taken in awkward positions, we progress, and two hours later, we find ourselves airborne and physically bound for Lima. Only hours separate conceptualization and realization of an idea that sowed it's seed so long ago in our minds. The harvest rides in on the morning sun, and the bell begins to toll.